Guest Post by Martin Weller of @2012DaytoDay

Guest blog by Martin Weller of @2012DaytoDay

Martyn Weller, chair of Disability Action Yorkshire, is tackling a 24 hour journey on a mobility scooter on June 30 and July 1 to highlight the everyday challenges facing people with disabilities.

He will be travelling 125 miles from Disability Action Yorkshire’s (DAY) Harrogate headquarters to the charity’s new, specially adapted holiday lodge in Kenwick Park Estate, Louth, Lincolnshire.

Using my disability journey to make a difference

I was born with spina bifida and my twin sister wasn’t.  Luckily I was born to parents who believed it wasn’t going to make any difference. We did virtually the same things (well I didn’t actually fancy ballet lessons so didn’t do that) and so throughout my childhood, apart from the operations, physio, trips to hospital and special shoes I really ignored having a disability. Of course going to main stream school and being the only disabled kid had its moments, but at least I had a better way of getting out of cross country than trying to forge a note from my mum.

As I grew up and got a job I think I actually turned from ignoring my disability to going out of my way to prove it didn’t make a difference.  I suppose looking back it was a form of denial. Turning up for a business meeting someone once said should he carry my case for me. He said, “We have a lift for people like you.” I don’t know how he knew about my Julia Roberts in a lift fantasy but I accepted!  Bit disappointing really – all it did was go up to the next floor.

Part of the denial was a reluctance to accept help, whether from someone or something – I would sooner struggle than use a disability scooter. It was only during a family trip to Florida and trying to tramp around Disneyland that I realised this was stupid – you go to the front of the queue at Disney if you are disabled!

So why when I am old enough and wise enough to know better do I come up with a mad cap scheme to ride 125 miles in 24 hours on a scooter? It is I suppose almost back to denial – other people raise money and awareness for charity why not me?

Nowadays everyone rides a bike from Lands End to John O’Groats blindfold, whilst playing the bagpipes and cooking pasta on a portable gas ring. I like to think my challenge is a bit different to those that have gone before; hopefully it raises a pound or two, whilst raising the profile of our organisation. It also publicises the fact it would be an almost impossible trip to make for a disabled person using public transport.

As the day looms I can’t help thinking maybe all those years ago I should have just done the ballet.

I’m wishing Martin every success for his Journey- I know how gruelling it is to travel anywhere as a person with a disability, and how badly served by public transport we are. He’s raising money for a great cause, so please do sponsor him if you can.

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